The United States Men’s National Team begins its march to South Africa tonight in Hartford with a friendly against a Czech team that can be generously dubbed a ‘B’ side.
Coach Bob Bradley has said he will whittle the 30 players in camp down to the final World Cup roster of 23 after this game, so expect a lot of fringe faces in the Starting XI. One familiar name who should start is Oguchi Onyewu. Gooch will need substantial time in all three run-up games to achieve match fitness after not featuring in a games since his injury in October. Usual starters coming off long European seasons–Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, for example–are also likely to sit this one out (though I’ve not seen that reported elsewhere) as Bradley Sr. sorts through his options.
Players such as Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark, both recently returned from injury, should get the start, while others still nursing injury, like Carlos Bocanegra and Jay DeMerit, may watch from the sidelines and let their possible back-ups fight it out. My guess:
Steve Cherundolo — Oguchi Onyewu — Clarence Goodson — Heath Pearce
Stuart Holden — Maurice Edu — Ricardo Clark — DaMarcus Beasley
Brian Ching — Herculez Gomez
ESPN has the game tonight with the broadcast starting at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
Update: Lineups are out. I was close. Sorta. The Two Eds up top!
Cherundolo –Goodson — Onyewu — Jonathan Bornstein
Holden — Edu — Jose Francisco Torres — Beasley
Edson Buddle — Eddie Johnson